The first thing you should know about determining fault in Florida is that we are a no-fault state. This basically means you are held responsible for any damages to your vehicle and you must pay your own medical bills.
In the legal world, “fault” and “negligence” are frequently used interchangeably.
Elements Needed to Determine Fault
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and you want to prove the other person is at-fault, you must prove the following:
- Duty: You (the plaintiff) must explain that the person who harmed you (the defendant) was responsible for your care at the time of the incident.
- Breach: The defendant acted (or neglected to act) in such a way to breach their duty of care.
- Causation: Your injury was directly caused by the defendant’s actions (or lack thereof).
- Damages: The defendant’s action (or inaction) actually caused you harm.
What if I’m at Fault?
The “pure comparative negligence” system allows victims to recover damages from accidents no matter the percentage of fault. For instance, if you are 95% at-fault for an accident, you are legally entitled to recover 5% of the damages that the accident caused.
If you are responsible for an accident, keep the following in mind:
- Don’t say sorry - this can be used against your claim.
- File a police report no matter the damage.
- Make sure people involved receive the medical care they need.
- Take images and record relevant details.
- Get information from witnesses - at least their names and phone numbers.
- Let your insurance company know, but don’t provide a statement until after speaking with your lawyer.
At Shapiro Law Firm, we have over 25 years of experience and have handled more than 2,900 cases in the Tallahassee region. We keep the “personal” in personal injury law by making sure all clients receive individual attention from Attorney Paul A. Shapiro himself.
Call Shapiro Law Firm today at (850) 629-7226 for a free consultation.